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Application of Lean Methods in Shipping Pharmaceuticals (Etihad Airways)

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Lean Thinking is a combination of the best processes and practices that optimize resources and yield the best product in the fastest time, at the lowest cost

Lean Thinking is an umbrella for “total quality management,” “continuous improvement,” “zero defect,” “six sigma,” “DMAIC,” and other similar terms. These concepts focus on doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, in the right quantity, and doing it right the first time. Lean is significantly different from traditional, internally focused, push production concepts and approaches of batch-and-queue manufacturing, with high inventory, long wait times, high backflow, and value defined by the corporation.

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In recent years pharmaceutical companies faced a lot of changes in their business environment. Especially the newly arisen cost pressure forces them to focus more on manufacturing than they were used to. They are in the good position that other industries already had the same experience. Adequate tools have been developed which they can adapt to their own environment. A lot of studies exist which explain and analyse these tools mainly under the term lean production. Lean production is composed of different lean practices and their implementation supports a plant’s success in manufacturing. Even if a lot of research has been done, researchers do not have a common understanding of the topic and different models and approaches exist. Especially the relations between the single lean practices are not analysed in detail. Further, their interaction with different production strategies is unclear.

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‘Lean Production’, or rather ‘Lean Management’ is an intellectual approach consisting of a system of measures and methods which, when considered as a whole, have the potential to bring about a lean and, therefore, particularly competitive state in a company

The main fields of activity concerned are product development, the supply chain, shop floor management and, to a lesser extent, after-sales services [Warnecke, H, Hüser, M (1995)]. There are multiple ways to combine the individual practices in order to represent the multi-dimensional nature of Lean Manufacturing [Shah, R, Ward, P T (2003)], which is the reason for the considerable amount of literature on the topic. Following its dramatic successes in manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry, many companies have chosen to implement a Lean Management approach in order to accomplish such goals as decreasing waiting time to release products onto the market, to reduce production waste, improve communication with end users and raise quality levels, both in the course of production and in testing laboratories.

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Ordinarily, the limitations and weakness of the study are that every quality systems component was not carried through the entire process. Batch release, quality documentation, discrepancy and failure investigations, change control, and validations had their associated value streams identified but only one of the value streams was detailed by activities

Stability failure investigations with field alert evaluations, corrective actions and preventative actions (CAPAs), complaint reviews (quality and medical), rejects and returns (salvages assessment, investigation, and disposition), material qualification, laboratory operations, metrology, raw material receiving and release, sample control, training and qualification of employees etc.

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Battistoni, E, Bonacelli, A, Colladon, A Fronzetti, Schiraldi, M M (2013). An Analysis of the Effects of Operations Management Practices effect on performance. International Journal of Engineering Business Management. 5(44): 1–11.

Warnecke, H, Hüser, M (1995). Lean Production. International Journal of Production Economics. 41(1):37–43.

Shah, R, Ward, P T (2003). Lean manufacturing: Context, Practice Bundles, and Performance. Journal of Operations Management. 21: 129–149.

Thomas, H. (2005). Transforming the Pharma Industry: Lean Thinking Applied to Pharmaceutical Manufacturing. Proceedings of the 7th World Congress of Chemical Engineering, Glasgow, 11–14 July, paper 074-002.

Shahram, T (2008). Lean Manufacturing Performance in China: Assessment of 65 manufacturing plants, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 19(2): 217–234.

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